Stars flocked to pay tribute to Stephen Sondheim for his 90th birthday virtual concert Sunday night – but the curtain came down quickly amid a mess of technical hitches.
The show, which signed up a slew of big names from Meryl Streep to Patti LuPone and Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, was already running 35 minutes late when host, actor Raul Esparza, came on the live link and started chatting to the director without knowing he was being broadcast.
When “Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration” finally started, composer Stephen Schwartz kicked off proceedings on the piano.
Unfortunately, Esparza’s follow-up link was then completely mute as he spoke to the camera- and after a few minutes, he simply walked off and the link was turned off.
The concert quickly became the top trending Twitter topic of the night as Lin-Manuel tweeted: “Hope someone is rolling on the Noises Off production happening right now at #Sondheim90Concert.”
He added: “My heart hurts for Raul on the tech stuff, who has put together by all accounts an unforgettable show. I really can’t wait to see it. But the WORK WAITS… #Sondheim90Concert”
Actress Rachel Bloom tweeted: “Someday a musical will be made based on the comments section of this Sondheim 90th Birthday concert live stream which is now 15 minutes late and counting.
Another added: “I truly have not laughed this hard in two months. This is already the greatest night of my life,” while referring to Sondheim’s musical “Into The Woods”, another wrote: “The problem with the #Sondheim90Concert livestream is that someone inadvertently used hair that the witch had already touched.”
Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Christine Baranski, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, were among the others performing to raise funds for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty).
The show finally started after 9:15pm Sunday and one person tweeted: “That’s showbiz kid.”
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